Bill and Shirley’s love story begins even earlier, when Shirley was allowed to date Bill, a friend of her brother, when she was 16.
“I met Bill when I was 12 and when I was 16 I was allowed to go out with Bill to the pictures. He’s eight years older than me and at that time it seemed a lot but not now. We took it from there,” says Shirley.
“We got permission to marry when I was 19 on the 21st June 1952. We had our first child when I was 20. We had four children by the time I was 26. We didn’t muck around; we didn’t want to waste time – we had three boys and a girl.”
Bill mentions the only time they were really apart through all these years was when he was travelling with the Australian soccer team.
“I was Australian goalkeeper from 1947 to 1950,” says Bill.
Bill and Shirley have fond memories of that time but when asked what they are most proud of, both mention their family.
“We mightn’t have a lot of wealth, but we have beautiful children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. All of them have good positions in life – we’re really proud of our 11 grandchildren and we’ve got five great-grandchildren.”
They also are proud to be still together for each other through life’s challenges. When asked what makes them happy, Bill says “Still being here and having each other!”
Shirley says, “To love each other still – to be here for each other.”
This importance of being together was the main reason Bill and Shirley made the decision to move to Seasons Bribie Island two years ago.
“I have macular degeneration and Bill’s got dementia. Our son lives on Bribie Island. I realise now we’ve made the right decision because my eyesight has gotten worse and so has Bill’s memory,” says Shirley.
“We’re happy with our decision. Everybody’s so lovely!”